tv Scenes From a Murder MSNBC July 23, 2011 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT
neighborhoods struggling with crime. the pictures from these cameras are helping police departments with few resources keep an eye on their communities. that's our report. thanks for watching. > 911. >> we the jury find the defendant -- >> she was funny and friendly and captivating. ♪ good-bye >> she was that kind of kid. you were just drawn to her. >> in life and even after her death. her murder. >> i should have protected her. >> a brother haunted by should haves thought he could vent his grief by making a movie. >> i'm jennifer. >> a low budget feature about the crime.
>> i saw a guy outside. >> but along the way he became the star of someone else's whodunit. a cop turned moviemaker who met the brother and saw not a sister's champion, but her killer. >> i'm demanding justice for jennifer morton. >> or so he says. aren't you taking two and two and coming up with five? tonight, the murder, the movies and the real investigation, a case filled with red flags, red herrings and possible clues from the grave. >> i'm thinking, you know, jenny, are you trying to send us a message. >> keith morrison, "scenes from a murder." many were devoted to her in life, some obsessed with her in death. thanks for joining us. i'm stone films. >> and i'm ann curry. she was a good-hearted free spirited young woman who knew her mind and where she was going. something about her was extraordinarily compelling and that seems to be even more the case since her death. >> she left behind a brother so tortured by her loss, some would wonder if it wasn't just grief but guilt that was driving his
obsession. what happened then, he says, was surreal. here's keith morrison. this is a story about movies, three of them actually. the first, pure, simple, about her, the radiant star. and then those others, those would-be sherlocks, chasing the riddle down their strange, opposing paths. but she like the center of any movieland mystery, as you will see, hides her secret well. >> it kept me awake at night, just thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it. it kept me awake at night but i found the best relief was physical. i would go to the gym, and i would lift weights, and i would run, and i would do all of these things to just try and exhaust myself in hopes that that night i would be able to sleep and not think about "god, what happened that day." >> his name is tom morgan. his sister, jennifer, 23, tall, attractive, funny, college marketing major, is our star and the subject of our mystery.
>> what was the thing that got you obsessed? >> i felt like we knew who did it. >> and so, as this strange tale unspooled, tom would put his suspicions in his own movie. a fictional tale to point an accusing finger toward truth. but making movies, someone might have told him, can be hazardous, especially when someone else makes the sequel. so be careful, they should have said. be careful what you wish for. >> that's right. >> in our little movie tonight, this will be the opening scene, bucolic, southern sun. a charming college campus in florence, south carolina, november 9th, 1994. a mother has been trying to phone her daughter, her daughter jennifer, at the mobile home park which was her off-campus residence.
>> i had started calling her. the line was busy, busy, busy. >> at the very same moment, across town, a woman in the final stages of labor is also trying to reach her best friend jennifer, who'd promised to be with her for the birth. >> the line was busy. and it was busy for the next hour and the next hour, for hours upon hours. >> they are calling the one woman, who outside these few frames of video, you will never meet. the young woman at the center of this tale, because at that very moment, jennifer morgan is lying on her bed, and she is dead in a house on fire. [ sirens ] >> it was just after 12:30 p.m. by the time the fire department arrived, the intensity of the blaze had roasted one end of the mobile home. they knocked the fire down and discovered the body burned beyond recognition lying face down on the bed. summoned to the scene of the fire was a young detective named kenny boone. >> i can remember it just like it was yesterday. november the 9th, 1994.
it was on a wednesday. >> as the grim wheel of investigation began to turn, the news was sent to jennifer's family. her mother kerry, her father jim struggled to come to grips with the worst news parents could ever hear. their baby, the last of their four children, was dead. >> it just takes time for it to really sink in and say, yeah, it really is true, and, you know, you're never going to see her again. >> the whole family was all but paralyzed by grief. jennifer had three siblings, an older sister, a brother near her own age and tom, the eldest. >> tom was a protector. tom always wanted to take the role over his dad, wanted to know who she was seeing, what she was doing, taking care of her. >> so you felt you could go to bed at night if she was out because of tom? >> absolutely. >> tom was right there waiting for her, exactly. >> he would be waiting for her to come in. >> exactly. >> but on that awful day, tom was in charlotte, north carolina. he'd just moved there from michigan and was staying with a
friend. it was late afternoon when tom's dad called though at first what he said didn't seem to make sense. >> he said, don't come home until tomorrow. and i just sat there, and i said, dad, what are you talking about? >> it took a moment, then he told tom what that meant. >> and he said, your sister died today in a fire, and i don't want you to come home until tomorrow, and he hung up the phone. >> and then, said tom, he virtually collapsed, went numb, cried and waited until the next morning to make the four-hour drive to his parents' home in myrtle beach. on his way, said tom, he stopped at the trailer park where his sister had died. >> i had to see that trailer burned. it was still all roped off with the caution tape, and i just stood outside there for probably 15 or twimts 20 minutes, just
still in disbelief and just cried. >> there was no police presence, said tom. but then why would there be? it was an accident, after all. time was a blur as jenny's parents planned the funeral. and then two days after her death, kenny boone called, and they tried to absorb more news. jennifer's death was not an accident after all. whoever set that fire was trying to hide a murder. only the method was still unknown. >> she hadn't been stabbed. she hadn't been raped. she hadn't been shot. and at the time they said, we'd like you to keep it quiet. we don't want anything tainted by you telling people because everybody still thought it was an accident. >> and now their grief was salted with anger and confusion and impossible questions. the investigator, kenny boone, told them what he knew, that he saw right away the fire was so intense, it had to have some extra fuel, some sort of accelerant. >> we started taking samples from the carpet. i immediately got those results right back.
>> what'd they say? >> positive for gasoline. >> boone sent the body to the forensic pathologist. >> there was no soot, no carbon monoxide in her lungs. we knew she had to be dead prior to the fire. >> but who would have wanted to kill jennifer? and why? >> she was very, very loved by a lot of people. and she was just that kind of kid. you were just drawn to her. >> tom morgan was inconsolable but found some comfort in believing his sister's killer would be found. >> i had complete confidence in our law enforcement. i had complete confidence that they were doing all the right things and that they were going to bring this thing to some closure for us. >> and so did that arson investigator in charge of the case. after all, the murder and the fire to cover it up all happened in broad daylight right in the middle of a mobile home park next to a busy four-lane highway. looking back 13 years later now, kenny boone is sheriff of florence county. >> i mean i really thought that
we was going to go straight to, you know, maybe a boyfriend or an acquaintance. this, he was convinced, would not be so hard to solve. of course, things don't always work out the way we'd like them to. and that movie idea? it'll soon be time for that part of the story. there would be two movies, remember, twin parades of hope and folly. but first suspicion falls as it often will on an attentive young male. >> clingy, protective, stalky, a key -- just stalked her. announ] this...is the network -- a network of possibilities. in here, the planned combination of at&t and t-mobile would deliver our next generation mobile broadband experience to 55 million more americans, many in small towns and rural communities, giving them a new choice. we'll deliver better service, with thousands of new cell sites... for greater access to all the things you want, whenever you want them.
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>> you go girl. >> she was a few months from her college graduation, a degree in marketing. as far as she knew her whole lifetime was spread out ahead of her. >> swing again. up one. >> got the video camera out. >> couldn't wait to get out of school. couldn't wait to be able to make money. couldn't wait to kind of go off into the world and do her thing. just very ambitious. >> jim and jenny. >> oh. >> jenny, turn around. oh, man. >> they buried her or what was left of her after the fire in this garden-like cemetery in the finest casket they could find. >> we were asked by the police department to make sure in case something did come up in the future that they could exhume her body and do dna testing. >> boone pieced together a time line for the day of the killing. jennifer attended her first class of the day.
francis marion campus around 9:30 a.m. >> i think jenny came home between classes. i think jenny had gotten something to drink. i think she sat down on the couch, had opened a book, set a drink down on top of a coaster on a coffee table. >> cause they're there. >> we found those things, and then she winds up face down on her bed. >> face down and dead. and so the killer -- >> used the fire to cover up any additional evidence that might have been there. >> that included any fibers, hairs or fingerprints that might lead to a suspect. but what about a motive? the melted television and a few pieces of jewelry left behind, fused by the heat, seemed to rule out robbery. jennifer's autopsy revealed no sign of sexual assault. there was, however, one very curious discovery. clutched in jennifer's hand, not on her wrist, but in her grip was a watch.
>> now, and, you know, now in our mind, you know, i'm thinking, you know, jenny, are you trying to send us a message? you know, does this mean something? >> maybe because as boone soon found out that watch had been a gift from him. >> i gave it to her as a gift for christmas or maybe her birthday, and it was a fossil watch. >> he is scott snowden. back then he was jennifer's special boyfriend. they met through his sister dina, who was jennifer's best friend. and, yes, the woman who was having her baby the day jennifer was killed. >> she had ideas that maybe she might one day be married to your brother? >> oh, yeah, they talked about it. yeah. six children, they were going to have a basketball team. >> they were in love? >> yeah, they were in love. >> but when scott and jennifer enrolled in different colleges many miles apart, their romance was put on hold.
>> we knew the distance would be a strain on the relationship. so we -- she started seeing other guys. i started seeing other girls. but we still talked and kept it close. >> and did you intend to resume a full-time relationship when you graduated? >> that's hard to say. that was my opinion at the time. >> investigator boone confirmed snowden couldn't have been the killer. professors proved he was three hours away at his college the morning of jennifer's death. but what about that watch? why would a woman likely fighting for her life hold on to a thing like that? >> i have no idea why she would have been clutching that watch. >> but scott had questions of his own like why was she at home that morning? >> it was awfully odd for her to leave campus in the middle of the day like that during her classes to come home, unless there was a break or something. >> it's not something she would have normally done?
>> it's not something she normally would have done. for it to happen so early in the morning, it shows that it must have been somebody she knew. >> scott's sister dina knew someone, a fraternity boy named chris. dina remembers jennifer complaining that chris would come over and stay for hours even when she begged him to leave. >> he was one of those guys that wanted to really date her and thought that that was someone that he could really spend the rest of his life with, but she did not feel that way towards him at all. >> his name was chris woodson, a science major jennifer met at her college campus. scott had met him too, in fact. it was the last night scott saw jennifer at her trailer when chris showed up. it was two nights before she died. >> i was there for five, maybe ten minutes. and i could see it on him that he was jealous but -- >> what do you mean you could see it on him? >> i mean i could just see -- he's like, what are you doing here and he's just jealous,
doesn't like another guy over at his girlfriend's house. >> he looked territorial sort of? >> yeah. he went in and we got to the door and i blew her a kiss and she winked at me and smiled real big and we said, i'll talk to you later, and that was it. >> jim and jenny are -- >> the morgan family also knew about chris woodson. and you know what they say about first impressions. >> before we ever met him, he would call 25, 30 times on a saturday if she came home from college. >> clingy, protective, stalky like he just stalked her. >> how long did this go on? >> maybe six months. >> six months probably, yeah, six months. >> it was still going on, they said, the weekend before jennifer's death as the family gathered for an early thanksgiving. >> the last weekend that i saw
her when i was at home, the phone rang at least ten times. to the point where it became annoying and i said, you got to do something about this relationship that you have. and she just said, it's a friend of mine. you know, we had a couple of dates and he's just a friend. >> did you say what's this guy stalking you? >> she just acted like it was annoying. >> before long investigator boone had heard about chris woodson too. and when he brought the young man in for questioning, his suspicions only intensified. >> i remember chris. he was crying. his emotions and stuff, the way he was acting, you know, it kind of led me to believe that this could be our man. >> kind of, indeed. boone was so suspicious, he put a polygrapher on standby then started his interrogation. chris readily admitted he loved jennifer and knew she did not love him the same way. he said they had sex the day before she died at his apartment here on campus and did her laundry for her too. that was the day he said that he
admitted his deepest feelings for her even though she didn't want to hear them. here's a quote from the transcript of the interrogation. "i said, jennifer, promise me one thing. she was like, what? i said, promise me that you know i love you. i want you to know that i do care in case anything ever happens. she was like, you know, quit. nothing ain't going to never happen to me," and it did. one more thing, chris told boone he argued with jennifer about their relationship and left her trailer about 10:30 the night before her death. >> i felt like this could be it because the motive could be there because of his jealousy or anger. >> investigator boone alerted the polygrapher. it was time to take that test. and meanwhile, who was leaving gifts at the cemetery and why? >> we found a bracelet at jennie's grave. so, what are we going to do with this?
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>> kenny boone put his suspect, chris woodson, into a car and drove him the 90 miles from florence, south carolina, to columbia where a polygrapher was waiting at the headquarters of the state police or s.l.e.d., as they're called. less than a week after the murder, boone felt sure he had his man and then the test result.
>> and at that time the polygraph examination came back inconclusive, which could have went either way. you know, that was a red flag and we just weren't sure. >> boone says chris woodson claimed that the morning of the murder he'd been paying college fees and played racquetball too before going to engineering class. was he telling the truth? still suspicious but not enough to take him in? >> right. >> but the morgan family was convinced that kenny boone had, in fact, found the murderer, chris woodson. >> when you heard that it was a murder, did your mind go to suspicions? >> exactly. >> yes. >> my mind went right to who did it. >> why woodson? a whole list of suspicions, for one thing, his obsessive phone calls, almost like a stalker, they felt. and they believed jennifer must have been attacked by someone she knew. >> she was 5'10" and 130 pounds. she was not a small girl.
she would have fought back if it was someone who came to her trailer that she did not know. she would have fought back. >> and their suspicions grew. one of the weirdest things happened the day after the incident in the trailer park. this boy, chris, and one of his fraternity brothers came over to the morgan house. and out of the blue, unsolicited offered a bizarre theory as to how jennifer may have been killed before the fire got to her. >> that what probably happened was a lamp fell over and probably ignited the carpet, the chemicals in the carpets made these fumes, and these fumes probably killed jennifer before the fire ever got to her. >> the thing that made the story suspicious, said the morgans, was that when chris told it just one day after jennifer's death, no one knew she was dead before the fire. >> we all looked at each other like how odd is that? this person who was so in love with her would come, and instead of shedding one tear or even saying i'm so sorry, he sat there with a fraternity brother
and described what probably happened that day. >> in fact, kenny boone didn't tell them somebody killed jennifer and tried to hide the crime with a fire until the day after chris offered his explanation. later that same week, the morgans saw chris again at the funeral. >> did you watch him? >> chris' reaction was very stoic, really expressionless and as i would speak to my relatives, he would walk over to where we were all standing and get close to where we were almost trying to overhear conversation. >> that struck me immediately. >> what did it seem like he was doing? >> wanted to know if anybody thought he did it. does anybody suspect me? is anybody saying anything? i had gone to the caretaker, and i had said, has anyone come and inquired about jennifer's grave, and he described chris.
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tempur-pedic. the most highly recommended bed in america. msnbc now. congressional leaders are working on a debt deal at this hour after leaving a white house meeting. sources tell nbc news that a more modest package is being discussed between $1 trillion and $1.7 trillion in cuts. republicans and democrats are hoping to have a framework for a deal in place by tomorrow evening. . police say a bomb that killed seven people in oslo was made of fertilizer and diesel fuel, and at least 85 people were killed at a norwegian camp after gunmen opened fire. it was 1 1/2 hours before the s.w.a.t. team arrived. at least 32 people are dead in china after a high speed train derailed. it may have caused a first train
to derail. more than 100 people have been taken to the hospital. and now we send you back to "scenes from a murder." >> even when detective kenny boone decided not to arrest chris woodson, the morgans remained deeply suspicious. partly because the odd things didn't stop, even after jennifer was buried and the months began to turn into years. >> around her birthday or the date of her death, we would come out and find flowers that were laid here, and we would always ask the people who were close friends of hers, oh, did you lay the flowers, and we could never account for who had put them there over and over again. >> and it wasn't just flowers the family found but couldn't explain. >> we found a bracelet at jennie's grave. a string bracelet with beads laying on her --
>> right on the stone. the flat stone. >> yes, i had gone to the caretaker, and i had said, has anyone come and inquired about jennifer's grave? and he said, yes, and he described chris. >> surely this was significant, thought the morgans, and perhaps would trigger law enforcement to take a second look at chris. >> when you called them, what was the response? >> i had called the lead investigator at the time, and he would always assure me, we are working on this, not a day goes by that i don't think about the case. >> years went by, and tom morgan and his family heard less and less from investigators growing more and more pessimistic that anybody would ever be charged. mind you, jennifer's father had been feeling that way since two days after the fire when he came here to the trailer park to pick up her car. >> i could tell at the time that in my mind that it was not an
accidental death. i'll just say that. >> was there a guard around the place? >> no, i was told they would be guarding and watching the property, but there was no one around. the premise was destroyed. i figured that there would absolutely be no resolve. >> so that investigation was what? >> it was botched. >> what of the evidence investigators did have, at least they had that watch, the old boyfriend's gift found in jennifer's hand. tom thought the killer might have put it there as a message of some sort. >> now that's strange to me that that watch would be in her hand and both the guys were there on monday night. both knew who gave her that watch. >> it seemed to tom that the watch must be important evidence. did the wanna-be boyfriend, chris, plant the watch in her hand just to make boyfriend scott look guilty? surely an interesting question. and yet authorities simply sent the watch to jennifer's mother. >> that's not evidence apparently. so if that's the way that evidence, potential evidence was treated, i'm sure there's not
much. >> but even as tom says he tried to dampen the anger that was eating him up, he kept finding what looked like evidence. jennifer's grave itself seemed to be throwing up strange tantalizing clues. >> almost as if she was down there tossing it to us. >> nine years after jennifer's death, her father, jim, was tending her grave clearing away weeds. >> he was edging around the back of the headstone, and he was down here with just a little edger to clear the grass away, and he popped out a fraternity ring. >> had to be a fraternity with those distinctive markings. >> odd that after that long a period of time that someone would come and obviously felt this tremendous remorse or whatever their feelings were that would have to come back to the grave site and put this under their headstone. so we took pictures of it, and
we sent it to florence county. >> but not before they searched the internet to identify the fraternity that issued such a distinctive ring, and soon they had their answer -- "tau kappa epsilon," a new and small fraternity then at francis marion. and one of its founders on campus, number 26 here on the roster of members was chris woodson. an enticing clue that only contributes to a case of severe frustration. >> it comes to a point where you just have to -- you just have to deal with it. >> oh, he will, with a screenplay and set in motion a chain of events, well, who could have seen it coming?
arrest this person? how long is this going to take? and why wasn't it today? is it going to be tomorrow? >> all the old impatience, the frustration, the crazy feeling came flooding back the minute tom's parents found that fraternity ring at jennifer's grave. tom had sent it to lead investigator kenny boone hoping boone could trace it back to the jealous would-be boyfriend and thus solve the case. and, well, dream on. >> finally when i did talk to him, his response was, it's not illegal to put a ring under a headstone. so he took his frustration to the next level of law enforcement, the state police. but, says tom, the dismissive response there was -- >> yeah, we're working on it. we're working on it. we're working on it. >> working on it? angry now, tom fired off a legal request, a demand really, to see whatever evidence the state police had. and he received a letter
instead. here it is. it says "the file could not be located" but that the agency would continue to search for these missing records. >> when i got that letter, i called him back that day and said, how are you possibly working on this case when you don't even have any of the information? he was irate. how dare i insinuate they're not working on this case? how dare i be upset or be mad about it? you know, question his authority, no way. >> and that strange though it may sound was the birth of the movie. it came out of anger and frustration. >> there are only so many weights you can lift and so many miles you can run and so many things you can do to try and get rid of that anger and that energy, and then it comes to a point where you just have to deal with it. >> he had no idea, of course, where that would lead. he just began to scribble.
>> i started writing a stream of consciousness. >> it wasn't even that hard, even though he was a real estate broker, not a writer, the words just fell to page. >> here's a guy that i think potentially did it and what would that conversation be like? >> he wrote imagined conversations, pent up thoughts and feelings about his own belief that chris, the fraternity boy, killed jennifer. tom's theory? that chris in a jealous rage about jennifer's old boyfriend, lost his temper, killed her, without meaning to, then got his frat brothers to help him hide the crime with the fire. gradually what emerged was a screenplay about one young man's terrible, deadly mistake. >> and for my closure, as strange as this may sound, i didn't want him to be a bad guy. this is something that happened that wasn't premeditated because in my mind that's the only way i could forgive him.
>> why wouldn't you want to hate and seek out and see justice done to this person? >> because i got to live with myself every day. >> and then a decision that would come back to haunt him. tom wrote himself into his screenplay. since he was writing fiction, he says, he wanted to make a change. he didn't want it to seem like his beloved sister had a steady stream of men visiting her trailer, so he put himself in the place of scott snowden, that other boyfriend chris encountered just before jennifer's murder. >> this is someone i protect in my life. i made her pure for my family. i made her pure for my parents. i made her pure because she was a good person. >> of course, tom wasn't really here at the trailer park any more than he knew for certain that chris was really here. this was a fictional story based on real events, yes, but spun together with altered names and faces and speculations and shifted time lines and at the heart of it, a brother's regret that he hadn't paid more
attention the last weekend to the incessant calls of that fraternity boy. >> i had my chance that weekend when that kid called that many times. i felt like i should have protected her. i wish i had that chance again. >> you never get those chances again, do you? >> nope, you don't. you just get a lifetime to think about them. >> every time you talk about it, your eyes go red and they start to water. >> cause i just remember how alive she was that weekend. i just remember how excited she was that weekend, and i just remember my little sister, and i miss her, i miss her. >> tom rattled off the script and threw it into a drawer. it didn't make him feel better, of course. besides, all tom knew about making movies is that he didn't know anything about making movies. so it was exciting when a friend
said he knew someone who could make the film. this was that someone. his name was pat moug. he agreed to read the script and said he liked it. >> and he, oh, by the way, happened to be a police detective in michigan. that was his -- that was his background. >> the acting detective. >> yeah, exactly. he worked on the s.w.a.t. team, and he was still actively involved with the police force and then the sidelight, what he really -- his passion was for acting and for making film. >> s.w.a.t. team by day, thespian by night, huh? >> yeah, and then he came down and said he really wanted to direct this film. he'd read the script and really, you know, seemed like a nice guy, a great guy. >> yes, and somehow larger than life. pat moug, the livonia, michigan, acting cop looked like a cross between mr. clean and kojak. a big friendly bundle of gung
ho. and moug had already done it. he had made an independent film, directed and starred in it himself, a movie called "the ugly one." >> you always said i should start fighting again. >> in a ring with gloves and rules. >> the fact that moug was a detective was a bonus, tom figured. >> i've been a police officer for 18 years. >> another experienced set of eyes to consider the evidence. >> i felt that being a police officer, someone that was a detective in sex crimes, i thought i'd be able to bring something to jennifer's story that other filmmakers might not be able to do. >> plus, moug had a great idea. why not make a promotional video about tom's project? >> in 2002 i met tom morgan. tom morgan had written a screenplay called "brothers." >> neither one of them had the money to make tom's movie. a good video, suggested pat, could attract investors. >> sounded good with me. i mean, i was -- i was okay with it.
i thought it was great. >> so moug traveled down to south carolina, interviewed jennifer's friends. he took some footage on her college campus. he even interviewed tom about the murder itself, about the movie project and about fund-raising. >> we need money for a movie. send money. $50,000 to share. >> then we're sitting and waiting for funding. you know, basically trying to figure out how we were going to be able to pay for this thing. and as many independent films do, you know, it never came. just never came. >> so the project languished for a couple of years until, again, a happy accident. a banker from charlotte, north carolina, named john schwert heard about the script and loved it and offered to finance tom's film if -- and this was a condition -- if he, the banker, could direct it.
>> takes a second mortgage out on his house to pay for a film and resigns from the bank and says, i'm going for it and it's like, god, i got the right guy. the guy's perfect. >> of course, tom now had to call pat moug up at the livonia, michigan, police department and tell him the news. the movie about jennifer's death now had financing and would be made but pat would not be directing. >> he said at that time i was going to be sorry. i thought he meant cinematically. as a -- his ideas for the film or whatever. that's what i meant by i was going to be sorry. >> tom morgan will have his movie. he will bring his nightmare to life. >> i saw the guy outside. >> how? >> oh, yes, but there are so many ways to be sorry, aren't there? >> jennifer! we spend a lot of time on the feed
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>> take six. >> it was the fall of 2004. it happened on makeshift sound stages around charlotte, north carolina. >> from what i see, the production looks great. >> the false start with the filmmaking cop from michigan was forgotten now. tom morgan watched a local production team piece together his story, tom's fictional imagining of the murder of his little sister, jennifer. part art, part desperate effort to prod the police into reviving the investigation. >> cut. >> it was a shoestring budget. tom's screenplay was shot in a fast and furious 24 days. >> i just want the story to be told, told over and over again until maybe somebody says, hey, i know something about that. >> i hope you enjoy the film. give us a minute for our high-tech lighting system to turn off. thank you.
>> and finally here it was. 11 years after her death, jennifer's story flickered to life on the screen. >> i'm ethan, by the way. >> i'm tiger woods. >> you are definitely not tiger woods. >> i'm jennifer. >> in the audience, her parents and older sister. the story was based on fact but tom had made some significant changes to real events and added lots of speculation, and then the director took over and made some more changes, so this certainly wasn't a nonfiction movie. >> ethan, what are you doing? >> what does it look like? >> we're here as friends. >> okay. >> still, tom's suspicion of what really happened to his sister did come true. >> i was wondering if you wanted to see a movie or something with
me tomorrow. >> ethan, that's really sweet but like i said, i just wanna -- >> please stop before you use the "f" word again. >> great. >> "among brothers" was set in a college fraternity. chris woodson's real-life identity was never revealed in the movie. still, if you knew him, it wasn't hard to see that the ethan character was based on him. >> doing what, working? >> something you wouldn't know much about, right? >> the audience saw that character hide in the bushes, growing jealous as jennifer's character meets a male visitor. in the film the visitor is her brother. in real life it was chris woodson's rival, scott snowden. >> i thought you said you had plans to see your family tomorrow. your boyfriend, is he your family? >> what? >> i saw the guy outside. >> get out. >> as the story progresses, the fraternity boy has an argument with jennifer. that part is true. it came right from chris woodson's statement to police. but then ethan loses his temper and accidentally kills her, and that part is tom's speculation.
>> i don't know what happened, but i just -- i just panicked, and i ran out of there. >> fraternity brothers help him cover up the crime by setting fire to the scene, again, the circumstances of the fire, something tom imagined. and here is a version of the awkward true scene the morgans remembered so vividly the day after jennifer died when the real fraternity boy, chris, came by their house and offered that theory that sounded more to the family like a cover-up. >> i was thinking about it in the car on the way over here, and what probably happened, several synthetic fibers in the sofa upholstery are highly flammable. what probably happened was the lamp fell over. >> the film ends with some wishful thinking by tom.
a cop zeros in. >> ethan, i'm going to catch the person who did this, and when i do, the district attorney is going to seek the death penalty and probably get it. >> and the ethan character is left tortured by what he's done but unwilling to turn himself in. >> i mean you're just cruising through life, living life, everything's fine. you have your friends, your health, and then you make one bad decision, one, and you're screwed. >> tom morgan, the writer here. >> not in the audience that night was, of course, the very person tom hoped would be compelled to admit what really happened, the real fraternity boy, chris woodson. >> do you hope it does what to him? >> i hope he looks at it and thinks to himself, man, this guy
is not giving up. >> tom had put all of his suspicions and the evidence he thought had been overlooked in the public for all to see. >> how often do you get updates? does the police keep you informed of anything new? >> yeah, we don't often get updates. >> for a start-up independent, the film did pretty well. it broke even. 15 international film festivals asked to screen "among brothers" and in the end, the little independent made with the director's second mortgage got a distribution deal. >> the momentum kind of got behind this thing. i think partly because it's based on a true story and partly because it's a pretty good film. >> so now the waiting game started up again. would someone finally come forward? well, yes, in fact, someone did, the south carolina state police. >> and they said, hey, we've got a cold case unit, and we want to
reopen your sister's case. >> a cold case unit. >> i was really excited. finally i had gotten someone's attention. >> of course, tom had not forgotten this was the same state police agency which once admitted it lost the file on the murder years before. >> one of the first questions to them was why'd you pick this? why'd you pick this case now? they made it sound like it was just luck. we lucked upon this. you know, we were the lucky lottery winner that they pulled up our case. >> so tom packed his year's worth of notes into his car and drove over to state police headquarters in columbia and there for 2 1/2 hours with investigators, he reviewed every detail, everything he knew about the case. >> they were very good at putting me at ease talking about the fact that we know that you know a lot about this case, we know that you know probably more than anybody about this case. >> and then came quite suddenly another one of those moments. the air seemed different. right then and there the complexion of tom's world changed. the detective asked one simple
question. >> do you have any problem taking a polygraph? no, no problem. hooked me all up. >> that day? >> right then. >> what does that feel like? >> i felt, okay, good, check me off the list. i got nothing to hide. >> but there it was. it was all different now. he waited for the polygrapher and an awful feeling washed over him. what were the questions? >> were you there when your sister's -- when jennifer morgan's trailer caught fire? did you kill jennifer morgan? >> jarring questions, said tom, but ridiculous. and when they were finished, he sat waiting somewhat impatiently to be dismissed. >> i'm sitting there checking my voicemail messages thinking i got to get out of here and the guy walks back in and says, you failed the test. >> failed. >> failed the test. >> what was going on? how could he have failed a lie detector test and why was one particular person not so
surprised? >> this may be the person that murdered this girl, the sister and then set her on fire. >> it's a pretty terrible thing to say? >> yes, it is. discover customersl are getting five percent cashback bonus at the pump... and at many of the places their summer plans take them. it pays to switch, it pays to discover.
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>> tom morgan left state police headquarters in a daze. he had gone in there, a brother looking for justice for his sister. as a man who'd gone to the media to criticize the police, who'd written a script and made a movie in an effort to restart an investigation. he had left, he says, feeling like a suspect but not knowing why. >> i said some not so flattering things in the past in the media about the case. nothing that wasn't true but i brought up several times that this file's been lost. >> so had the state police decided to teach him a lesson? >> how would you describe the way they're treating you? >> from where i grew up, you would call it being slapped around. >> bullied? >> yeah. >> what motivation would they have to bully you except to find the truth? >> maybe this is where the rubber meets the road and they think, you know what, now he sees he's got something to lose and now he'll leave us alone. >> but it turns out tom morgan was wrong. it wasn't his harping about the police that had him in a
polygrapher's clutches. it wasn't payback. it wasn't even political. no, the reason tom was hauled in for questioning was because somebody had offered new evidence that suggested the real suspect all along should have been tom morgan. and who might that mysterious suspicious somebody have been? well, you've heard about him already. it was pat moug, the filmmaker and policeman tom had first chosen to direct his film. >> that was what initially tweaked your suspicion? >> yes, when i read his script. >> it was so weird. it was the first year. >> pat, remember, had been replaced as the movie's director when a new man was brought aboard. but that persuaded tom to let him use the video he'd already shot as part of a documentary about the making of the movie. what tom did not know is that pat was only pretending to make a documentary. he'd reverted from filmmaker to cop.
why? because, says pat, of something he saw in tom's fictional movie script. >> and all of a sudden in the middle of the script i get to the murder scene and the person who he told me in real life that he based the script on, this fraternity brother, he goes to the trailer and when he gets there there's a man already there and he listens from underneath the window and the man leaves. this makes him jealous. he goes in and he kills her. well, the man that's there is tom morgan. >> in the script that he sent you. >> yes. when i read that, it was like somebody slugged me in the chest. i was just like this isn't right. it just didn't make sense. there's no reason to put yourself at a murder scene of an unsolved homicide. >> pat instantly thought back to his police training, in part, to a course in criminal psychology he'd once attended. >> the narcissistic sociopath will find a way of placing themselves near the crime scene of the victim. and that's exactly what he does in his script. he places himself at the crime scene. >> and emotionally what does that do to you? >> it's not a good feeling in
your gut because you're thinking what happened to the girl? and now here's this person that you're talking to that you're thinking, this may be the person that murdered this girl, his sister and then set her on fire. >> that's a pretty terrible thing to say. >> yes, it is. >> at first, said pat, he wanted to back out of the project. but then with his investigator's instinct engaged, he came up with his plan to follow his suspicions. >> why don't we make an investors packet or a dvd behind the scenes where we can interview you, and we can show it to people. maybe they'll get interested in your project. he went along with the idea. and he said we can arrange to interview some people that knew my sister too. >> so he was keen on being interviewed? >> yes. >> why don't we do some of the documentary information now. >> and it worked. tom had no idea the whole thing was a ruse. investors would never see this tape, but pat had every intention of ensuring that investigators did. >> i knew the road i was about
to go down. >> pat, it's tom again. >> the undercover road. the old policeman's trick of using a lie to get at the truth. first, pat looked through the interviews he'd already shot before he was dropped from the movie project. for example, the conversation with tom back whether they were making that investors video. this, it seemed to pat, justified his suspicions. >> what would you want to see done to the person? have you thought about that? >> whatever the courts would decide. >> see, right there, his answer -- whatever the court decides. that's the number-one answer of someone being deceptive of a crime they're usually involved in. subconsciously, you don't want to say what is the normal answer, that yeah, they should go to jail. >> as the interview continued, pat heard other suspicious statements. for one thing, that odd story of the way tom's dad told him about jennifer's death. >> i remember that day. i was at a friend's house in
charlotte. my dad called -- i remember his exact -- his exact words. do me a favor, don't come home tonight. >> to tom, it showed how deeply affected his dad was by jennifer's death. to pat, the story about the way he was told took on a completely different meaning. >> see, that's -- that's what's shocking to him is what his dad said -- don't come down tonight. seems like he just blouses over what should have been the shocking moment to him is that he called me and said "my sister's dead." >> i find myself out here by myself start talking -- >> over the months they worked together, pat says, he discovered other worrisome discrepancies. >> her car was parked here. what happened is they came out of the car -- >> pat showed the tapes to some fellow cops in michigan. >> i showed it to a criminal profiler, lieutenant from the michigan state police, criminal psychologist who worked with michigan state police.
some fbi agents. >> pat says his colleagues agreed he was right to be suspicious. >> i've come into information an unsolved homicide. >> so surely that investigator down in florence county, south carolina, kenny boone, could jump all over what pat had heard. >> i firmly believe i know who committed in homicide. >> but -- >> the detective from florence county would not return any of my calls, and i faxed him requests from my detective bureau. this was solely, 100% as a police officer, a fellow police officer. and he never responded. and fbi, from what i'm told, their protocol is that jurisdiction, the agency that has the jurisdiction has to make the request or they can't get involved. >> he doesn't think there's anything suspicious, forget about it -- you could have done that, why didn't you? >> i firmly believed that tom was a suspect. and while this homicide did not happen in my jurisdiction, i can't walk away.
someone's been killed and set on fire, and i might know who did, it i'm going to work on the case. >> and what did pat moug do? he followed in the very footsteps of his suspect, going over to the police headquarters unannounced with his tapes and story. >> he said, we're only assisting jurisdiction, but we'll see what we can do. >> and that is how tom morgan found himself attached to the state poli polygraph machine. >> i believe i have enough evidence for probable cause to arrest him. >> and a big night in hollywood.
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where did you want to start? >> reporter: in the summer of 2005, tom morgan's movie about the killing of his sister showed up here and there in the indie film festivals. though tom was not aware of it, the man who he once pegged to make the movie was working against him. >> i believe one police officer in one state should work with other police officers to take a murderer off the street and that's just how i am. i'm not going to go away. >> reporter: now it looked as though pat moug's policeman's passion would fade off. tom morgan, the brother who had been pestering investigators for years about his sister's murder was hauled in for questioning and now seemed to be a suspect himself. pat waited for word of an arrest and waited. >> right now, if he was in our state, i believe i have enough evidence for probable cause to arrest him.
>> reporter: really? arrest him? well, there was no arrest. and now the state police also stopped returning pat's calls. but he was a fellow officer. surely he thought somebody at least owed him an explanation. >> if you knew information that i knew about a murder and no one wanted to help you, you should get up on a podium in central park -- >> reporter: go to the local police department and say i had information which could help you resolve this crime. >> then what do you do if they won't listen to you? >> reporter: what do you do? well, if you're pat moug, you make a movie. just as tom morgan had done. remember, as a complete ruse, pat had shot some interviews with tom. and now he decided he really would make a documentary. he called it "bold as a lion." but it wasn't to raise money as his fake alibi had said.
>> in 2002 i met tom morgan -- >> but to lay out his case piece by piece that tom morgan should be a prime suspect in the murders of his sister. >> what we call the butch interview, tom begins to talk about where he was at the time of his sister's homicide. >> reporter: all along something tom told pat had made him very suspicious. tom said he had been living in michigan when jennifer was murdered when, in fact, a few weeks before she died, tom moved to charlotte, north carolina. and charlotte was just a 2 1/2 hour drive from the scene of the crime. if tom lied about where he lived on the day of the crime, was he lying about his actions that day, too? >> i remember that day, i was at a friend's house in charlotte. i flew into charlotte and then i drove on the way to my parents' house -- >> reporter: here pat seems to have caught tom as he tries not to reveal that he's been lying
about his moving date from michigan. pat was very suspicious of that fudging. also, there was the way tom talked about the weather on the day of the murder. >> if i remember, this was almost the identical weather that it was. >> reporter: as if he was right there when it happened. >> he does not use the wording that this was the weather in charlotte or this was the weather in michigan or that he was told this was the weather like that day. >> reporter: and remember that watch police found in jennifer's hand after the fire and the bracelet and ring tom said his father found at the grave? tom suggested those were left by his suspect, chris woodson. but pat came to a different conclusion. it's your suspicion tom is -- >> my suspicion is that it's connected that, this staged event at the murder scene is -- the ring is possibly staged. >> did you ever ask tom about that? >> no. >> reporter: and there was pat's suspicion that tom knew too much about the murder if he wasn't around to witness it. >> they took all the sweaters
out of the car, put them all underneath her bed and doused those with gasoline in addition to dousing her body. >> i spoke with the florence county coroner and discussed these items. he indicated to me that he did not remember telling tom morgan any of these facts. >> reporter: and that's about the point pat's theories took a turn toward something way out there, something no one else had even imagined, some sort of sexual dysfunction between tom and his sister. >> in the one telephone conversation i had with the florence county detective, he informed me that after jennifer morgan was murdered, there was at unknown milky white substance in her vagina. >> reporter: what set it off was that phrase. pat recalled that the florence county investigator, kenny boone, told him that an unidentified substance may have been found in jennifer's body. >> was this milky white substance placed there as a result of an assault, including oral sex? >> reporter: what could that substance have been?
well, how about ice cream? in his fictional movie script, tom had put himself at his sister's home just before the murder, bringing ice cream. and that became part of pat's evidence, that tom may have sexually assaulted and killed his sister. >> so what do you think happened? >> he had unhealthy relationship with his sister. >> what do you mean unhealthy relationship? >> that's as far as i'm going to go? >> do you mean incestuous relationship? >> i'm just telling you that it might have been perceived in his mind. the fact that, again, the whole take on the boyfriend, there's an unhealthy assumption on his part that that boyfriend has to be the only suspect. and that's -- that is something i can testify to. he does not like anyone else being named a suspect other than her college boyfriend. >> reporter: but remarkably, pat had even darker suspicions. if tom killed his sister, then according to pat, jennifer's own father and her other brother may have helped cover up the murder
by dousing her body in gasoline and setting it on fire. all these years, pat suggested, jennifer's whole family may have been involved in a massive cover-up. the documentary ended with what pat intended as the climactic interview. >> i'm on your side, but there's people out there that have been telling me stuff. >> here tom has no idea that a microphone and two cameras are placed in the room. pat is moving in for the kill. for what he hopes will be tom's confession. >> tom, i know you're at your sister's accident, jen's accident. >> no, i wasn't. >> tom, i know you were. >> no -- >> tom, no, no, no -- >> no, listen to me. >> tom -- >> for two years you've been telling me things that put you at your sister's accident. >> pat, this is what i'm telling you. listen to me, what i'm telling you. i was not at my sister's. i had -- i loved my sister.
>> i know -- >> hardly a confession. that did get tom to admit, however, that he had lied when he told pat he lived in michigan at the time jennifer was killed. >> you lied to me that day. how else should i act? >> i told everybody i moved down here after she died. guess what, i didn't, i [ bleep ] in october -- >> why did you? >> because i was embarrassed. >> embarrassed, tom told pat, about running away from some financial and romantic mistakes he'd made up in michigan. pat wasn't buying it. instead, his interview clips and charts and speculations boiled down to this. >> i think he went there and i think they got in some form of an argument, over what i'm not exactly sure. and i think that he caused her death possibly. >> and you think tom did it? >> i think there's a distinct possibility that tom did it, absolutely. >> reporter: pat moug is a fourth generation policeman.
he believes, he says, that his is an effort to right a wrong. >> after three to four years of me asking nicely, i'm tired of asking nicely. i'm demanding justice for jennifer morgan. >> and so here it was. on a winter frigid night in livonia, michigan, in a donated theater in a giant suburban multiplex, the premiere of pat moug's "bold as a lion." it's a big crowd. pat has invited his many friends, many from law enforcement. finally, they'll get to see the work that's consumed three years of his life. >> i want to thank everybody for coming out. hopefully we're going to start a campaign to finally get justice for a girl that you're about to meet. >> what is the probably that tom morgan -- >> reporter: the audience knows virtually nothing about the story beyond the selectively prepared case that pat is presenting to them. yet, there's not much doubt these are friends and they're
hugely supportive. and many of them are puzzled why south carolina law enforcement hadn't welcomed pat into the investigation. >> why do you think they're so reluctant? >> i don't know if it's because i'm an outsider, perceived outsider as opposed to perceived fellow police officer. i don't know. >> reporter: pat's movie audience is eating out of his hand. "bold as a lion" has raised some very serious questions. but were they legitimate? now pat moug will take a turn on the hot seat. in fact, you got nothing in that tape. >> i don't agree with that. i don't agree with that. [ male announcer ] walls can talk. but it's our job to make them say something interesting. so how about this weekend we learn some new tricks of the trade... then break out our doing clothes and get rolling. let's use some paint that helps us get the job done in record time
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>> reporter: a friendly crowd for the premiere screening of pat moug's film "bold as a lion" offered enthusiastic praise for pat's efforts. many, though they'd never met tom morgan, were now deeply suspicious. >> do you have tom morgan's number still that we can call him right now and ask him a few questions? >> reporter: after all, pat had put together material that implied, without much subtlety, that tom had killed his sister and that tom's father and brother helped cover up the crime by burning her body. >> tom would say things or write things on his website --
>> reporter: the allegations had been couched with words like suspicion, avoiding direct accusations, but only an idiot would miss the obvious message. but, we wondered, was any of it built on actual evidence? >> what would you like to see done -- >> whatever the courts statewided. >> how had pat come to the conclusion based on this interview that tom could be a sociopath? why did he suspect that, behind tom's very public crusade for justice, lurked a killer? well, pat told us he taken some special training in criminal psychology that has enabled him to detect possible guilt based on what people say and how they say it. >> how long were you at this reed institute? >> well, it's a week long -- i think it's a week long training for the first class. and then the second the advanced class is like a two-day seminar. >> then what? there's a diploma or something
the end of it? >> a certificate. >> reporter: but if pat wasn't a exactly trained psychologist, he was and is an experienced policeman. he's been on the force for 18 years. so what about that milky white substance he says the sheriff told him was found in jennifer's body, which was at the heart of pat's suggestion that jennifer's death could have been caused by some inappropriate sexual event involving tom? >> how does he know? by coincidence, he writes this script where he's bringing ice cream to the murder scene. and lo and behold, the detective has this milky white substance in the vagina. >> reporter: but aren't you taking two and two and coming up with five? >> no, i don't think so. >> reporter: he's fictionally writing about him being there with ice cream. >> and you think it's a coincidence that he shows up in his script, that he places himself at the murder scene minutes before his sister's murder and he's bringing a substance that after fire could be melted down and be a milky white substance? do you think that's a coincidence? i don't. >> reporter: why would it be
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msnbc now. right now congressional leaders are working on a debt deal after leaving the white house meeting. sources tell nbc news that a more modest package is being discussed in the range of $1 trillion to $1.7 trillion in deficit cuts. republicans and democrats are hoping to have a framework for a deal in place to be announced by tomorrow evening. in oslo, police say the bombing that killed at least seven people was made of fertilizer and diesel fuel. at least 85 people were killed at a youth camp after gunmen opened fire. a norwegian man is in custody. president obama has pledged assistance if needed. police confirm singer amy winehouse has been found dead in her north london home today. she had been battling drug and alcohol problems for years, but a cause of death has not been released.
winehouse best known for the song "rehab," was just 27 years old. more news later. now back to "scenes from a murder." >> reporter: so what about that substance? for pat it was crucial. it was the only evidence he offered to imply an incestuous relationship between tom and jennifer. but did it even exist? pat moug says he got the story from florence county sheriff kenny boone, who said he learned about it from the forensic pathologist. but she told us simply this. as far as she remembers, there never was any milky white substance. here is her autopsy report. i put everything i found in here, she told us. if it wasn't in the report -- and it isn't -- it didn't exist. >> >> reporter: and remember how
pat ferreted out tom morgan's fudging about his movements around the time his sister was killed? now in his film, pat used that uncertainty to offer his own set of speculations. that tom lingered at his parents' house in myrtle beach for several days after a family reunion ended. and then on his drive home to charlotte, stopped off to kill his sister. >> driving from myrtle beach to charlotte puts him on a route that takes him through the university where his sister was going to school at the time of her homicide. >> reporter: but pat offers no evidence that this actually happened. no receipts, no eyewitnesses along the way that could place tom anywhere on this route. in fact, in that hidden camera interview, tom tells pat he was at work in north carolina, 170 miles away, on the day of the fire. >> i was in winston-salem.
i can tell you to the -- >> reporter: later, at his movie premiere, pat admits he never did check out the alibi. >> were you able to verify any of his so-called alibis? >> well, the last alibi -- well -- i did not. at that point, it just seemed like i'd be chasing another one of his lies anyway. >> reporter: you set up a high tech sting operation -- >> yes, i did. >> in this hotel room. >> yes. >> because you wanted to trap him and because you wanted to get him to confess to you that he had killed his sister. and you were terribly upset when he didn't confess to it. when he said, no you've got it all wrong. you've got it all wrong. >> i was disappointed that we didn't get to the bottom of the matter. >> you got nothing on tape. >> i don't agree with that. i don't agree with that. >> but remember, one of pat's insinuations went beyond all the others. and that was this. based on nothing more than his own analysis of a fictionalized
story, pat surmised in his very public film that jennifer's father and brother helped tom get away with her murder. >> if i step on somebody's toes so be it. >> if you ruin their reputation, so be it? >> well, there's a lot of people in prison whose reputations i ruined and i don't care. >> yeah, but if they're innocent. >> well, you're saying if. the only way you're going to find out if they're innocent, if you clear tom morgan as a suspect. he's a suspect right now. >> is he? some people down in south carolina have suggested this is all payback because tom dropped pat from the movie project. nothing to do with it, responds pat. though he does claim tom didn't even have the courtesy to tell him he was dumped. says he found out about it after the movie was made. >> they can say whatever they want to me. they can say that i'm doing this because i didn't get to direct tom's film. everything in this documentary is tom saying it and i'm just putting it together. if it takes everybody in the country being mad at me to get
justice for this girl, so be it. >> reporter: for pat, this was the way to justice, a film crammed with insinuation, accusation and an angry challenge to the sheriff of florence county. was he remotely right? >> that tells you what kind of investigator he is, to come to that conclusion. >> what do you suppose we might discover back in florence county, south carolina? [ male announcer ] you sprayed them. thought they were dead. [ laughter ] [ grunting ] huh? [ male announcer ] should've used roundup. america's number one weed killer. it kills weeds to the root, so they don't come back. guaranteed. weeds won't play dead, they'll stay dead. roundup. no root. no weed. no problem.
sister's 1994 killing, and even made his own movie pointing at a particular suspect. and we asked him some tough questions. this, just after he failed that polygraph. this is really hard and it comes through in your eyes. i can see it is. is part of the reason it's hard for you because you actually did it? >> no. >> you killed your sister? some terrible accident but you killed her? >> no, i did not kill my sister. >> reporter: now, suddenly, 13 years after the murder, tom was very publicly accused. he didn't seem thrilled to be in front of our camera -- again. in your circumstances, this new wrinkle has entered the scene. what is it your mom said? about your 15 minutes -- >> yeah, how do you like your 15 minutes of fame? >> so far. it ain't over yet.
>> yeah. >> what does that do to you inside? >> it tears me up. this whole thing tears me up. >> you didn't really wanna come and do this today, did you? >> no. we have worked so hard to try and keep this in the forefront of people's minds. and to try and keep this investigation going for her sake. and, in rebuilding our lives, you know -- i think the one thing that people don't understand is we're not a typical family. we're not a family that gets together at the holidays. we're a family that talked to each other every single day. we're a family that keeps in close contact, that still goes on family vacations. so when we lose that, for people
to say, you know, sorry for your loss, you have to let it go. maybe it's harder for us to let it go. maybe it's harder for me. but it's not just for me. it's for my parents. it's for our family. we need closure. we want closure. >> listen to what he says and also -- >> reporter: we watched "bold as a lion" together, with frequent stops when tom objected to pat's allegations. >> the interesting -- interesting to that -- >> those apparent contradictions for example, about where he was when his sister was killed. >> yeah, i went back. i was going to fly back out of charlotte back to michigan. >> stop right there. i can remember having this conversation and thinking to myself, man, why did i say that? why didn't i just tell him? why didn't i just tell him? >> clear it up. >> let me just clear this up. and i would have said, pat, listen, i told a lot of people i moved to michigan after my
sister passed away. i told a lot of people that. you know why? it's an easy way to say you left michigan as opposed to i was having sex with a married woman and i was doing other things that i wasn't too proud of and so i left. >> reporter: we stopped again during the scene at jennifer's old trailer park. that's the time when pat moug suggested tom knew too much about the killing, that he suggested tom knew too much knew things only the murderer would know. >> they took all the sweaters and put those under her bed and doused them with gasoline. >> hold on a second. where did you get the information you're using there? >> we were all speculating at the time. what's interesting about his interview is that we'd all had conversation, and pat as a police officer says, well what do you think about this? or how could this have happened? or whatever. >> he was speculating, too. >> everybody was. you know it's like these bits and pieces of conversation that he's just drawn out to make this into a -- >> to make it look like a lie?
>> to make it look -- yeah, to make it contradict itself. >> reporter: then a few minutes later, the most damning - or outrageous - part of pat's theory. >> tom morgan writes him -- >> first, pat implies tom may have launched some sort of sexual attack on his sister. then, because a couple of accomplices to the crime in tom's fictional movie script seemed to resemble tom's father and brother, pat suggests that the real father and brother may have helped burn jennifer's body. >> the question is why would he want to describe the people that burned a human being after they had been murdered to resemble his father and his brother? >> stop -- yeah, stop right there. it's surreal. this whole thing is surreal. we loved my sister. our family is very tight, we are very close knit. we would do anything to bring her back.
we were the people who were trying to keep this going. we were the people who were trying to provide them with additional information. we were trying to -- i mean, anything we could do to keep it out there in the forefront of people's minds. we were the ones trying to do that. and then he turns that around and says, well -- >> the key argument that pat moug makes is you put yourself in this movie. maybe because you're a narcissistic sociopath who needs to get -- to taunt people, to get as close as you can to the crime. and that maybe your family has done the same thing. or maybe that you've done the same thing with them. >> he had so many opportunities to sit down with us and say, "hey, i'm gonna make this little like to get everybody's -- >> tell us everything you know. >> yeah, yeah, go through the whole thing. >> he didn't do those things? he's never spoke to my family. and that is absolutely despicable because at that point, he has slandered our family's name.
>> he must have had a motivation to do that. >> all i can do is go back to the day that he told me when i said that he wasn't gonna make the film that i'd be sorry. >> reporter: tom's mother says she could scarcely believe pat moug could imply such an awful lie about her family. >> i am totally a mother hen, i will fight tooth and nail, i will go to the wall for this. there is no way anyone will come down and ruin my son's reputation without an awful lot of hardcore facts. and i don't think they can give me one. >> you're pretty angry about this. >> angry that my son will be hurt, yeah. >> and angry, said tom's dad, that police would consider his son a suspect based on what jim morgan claimed were pat's lies. what are you worried about now? i worry about tom. law enforcement can really turn the screws down if they want to. >> and wouldn't the police want to, in light of pat moug's allegations?
and didn't florence county sheriff kenny boone appreciate all of pat moug's suggestions about what happened on that warm november day back in 1994? well, actually, no. he would and did not. you cut him off. >> not give him anything, no sir. you know, he's come to a conclusion that tom is responsible for this, not knowing any of the other information and stuff like we have in our case file. and, you know, it bothered me. i take offense to it. >> reporter: it wasn't at all surprising, said boone, that tom seemed to know things about the crime that perhaps only the killer would have known. >> tom could have been getting that information from the family, cause at that point, you know, i tried to keep the family kind of up to date on what was going on, what was taking place, kind of where we were going. >> reporter: as for pat's conclusion that tom is the suspect in his sister's murder,
and that his father and brother may be complicit? >> that tells you what kind of investigator he is to come to that conclusion not having the preponderance of the evidence, not all the evidence. >> reporter: but what about that failed lie detector test? well, said both boone and the state police, it was all the available evidence that made them decide that the polygraph result was simply an error and that neither tom morgan nor any member of his family had anything to do with jennifer morgan's death. but pat moug was right about one thing. kenny boone did not cooperate with a fellow police officer, the one from livonia, michigan. >> you know somebody can sit in michigan and armchair quarterback this thing, but i take great offense to it. he didn't work night and day on this case like we did. but i think you've got a patrolman with a rookie attitude wanting to make a name for himself. >> but the fact is,
tom morgan and pat moug may both have missed the real story. murder on a november morning, as told by sheriff kenny boone. >> one of the suspects that we had was right here. >> in that one right there? >> right. hey, check it out. she's using the mr. clean magic eraser bath scrubber. i've heard of it, but i haven't seen one up close. what's the word around the sink? that it removes 3 times more soap scum per swipe, and it came from outer space. it is not from outer space! no, man, it's from outer space. they're aliens on an intergalactic cleanliness mission. they're here to clean up the universe. oh, the kitchen scrubbers are aliens, too? yeah, look at that greasy kitchen mess. everybody's in on the cleanspiracy, man. i can't even trust myself. [ male announcer ] mr. clean magic eraser kitchen and bath scrubbers. the clean is out of this world. because a chicken is what it eats. [ jim ] this seal verifies we feed my fresh all-natural chickens an all-vegetarian diet including corn, soybeans, and marigolds. no animal by-products. no meat and bone meal. when you put my chicken on the table,
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of course, then i got pounded because i had all the cards laying on the table. >> reporter: since jennifer morgan was murdered, her family has grown. tom is now happily married and father to three members of the new generation. it's a family just as close as he says it's always been. and able to laugh again.
though the gaping hole left by jennifer's death is, they tell us, just as painful as ever, along with the newer wound that comes from being accused. and though tom morgan still wonders if some cop will come knocking at his door, it seems unlikely that sheriff kenny boone, at least, would want to arrest him. why? because, says boone, both tom morgan and his nemesis pat moug have likely both been looking at all the wrong places from the very beginning about. >> well, you know, it's one of my only unsolved homicides and i'd love to be able to solve it today. >> reporter: but far from being botched, as the morgans and pat moug seem to think, the sheriff says his investigation was quite thorough and that he looked pretty carefully at the suspect tom morgan made into a character in his fictional movie, the real life frat boy who seemed to be obsessed with jennifer. but it turns out there was an alibi, says boone, and a pretty
solid one. >> we were trying to base on a time line, if he had the opportunity to be able to do something like this. at that point, you know, we -- his alibi was clear. but, you know, to me, until someone is convicted, everyone's still a suspect. >> reporter: but you remember that possible evidence the family found at jennifer's grave? >> almost as if she was down there tossing it to us. >> reporter: somebody had left a bracelet and a fraternity ring at the headstone. to tom, they were evidence that his suspect, chris, had left them there out of his continuing remorse. to pat moug, they were evidence tom morgan had staged those items to direct attention away from his own guilt. >> it's something detectives call staging. >> reporter: well, as it turns out, they were both wrong. >> i actually had a ring -- >> reporter: "dateline" found another of jennifer's college buddies. his name is david dietz.
>> just spending around her was like an uplifting thing. >> reporter: and guess what. it was he, says david, who left a bracelet and a ring at the grave as tributes to a good friend. >> i guess that's one of life's little lessons that i've learned from her death is you never know when you're going to have an opportunity to express to them how you feel about them. >> reporter: david showed how he tucked the ring into the ground beside the headstone. >> i just stuck it right in that area at the front right under her first name. >> reporter: just where jennifer's father found it. and one more piece of evidence that seemed to point at chris or tom suddenly vanished. these days, chris, the one time fraternity boy owns a radio station here in union, south carolina. he has repeatedly declined our attempts to see him and hear his side of the story. as to the business of not being fully eliminated as a suspect, he's reported to have told a friend, "i'm tough, i can take it.
people i care about know i didn't do it and that's good enough for me." as for kenny boone, he says he's determined still that someone will be charged with the murder of jennifer morgan. what evidence there is, or most of it, anyway, is still in the sheriff's issued cardboard box. tell me what you know about this ring. there's that ring. and here's the burned bits that once looked like clues. >> and, you know, we go out and we physically try to run those leads. >> reporter: but as we took a stroll through jennifer's woodsy trailer park, the sheriff gave us reasons for his view that the murderer is none of the suspects you've heard about but someone else altogether. >> one of the suspects that we had was right here. >> reporter: in that one right there? >> right here. that window was his bedroom. >> so he could see outside right over to her trailer? >> right. >> and see that she was home alone? >> you know, we can put him leaving this mobile home,
walking in front of this mobile home right here and walking down four mobile homes on the right to use the telephone to call his girlfriend. >> when? >> right at the time i think the fire was set, right before it was called in at 4:28. >> so if that was a deliberately set fire, you can put him right here? >> right. i can put him in this street but i can't put him in that trailer yet. you never know. with technology and stuff like it is today, you never know. it's still a possibility and it's not over. >> reporter: though there's no particular rush to find the man. at this very moment, in fact, he's sitting in prison for a break-in and sex crime which, according to sheriff boone, followed a similar pattern to the attack on jennifer morgan. so case closed? well, not exactly. because now on they go, these three contending investigators down their opposing paths. pat moug, the actor/cop from livonia, michigan, is out there, way out there, with his own
cinematic point of view that tom may have killed his sweet sister, helped out by his own father and brother. tom, the budding screenwriter, still doesn't believe the sheriff and still suspects the fraternity boyfriend. and sheriff boone thinks they're both wrong, that quite possibility the neighbor did it. ♪ i'm sure it's something i can't do ♪ >> reporter: and so the picture's yellow. the memory of her smile still dances across aging family films. all the possibilities that never were. and at the glacial pace the investigation has moved, the new generation of the morgan family may be in college themselves before tom can finally let it go. but not yet. in spite of all that's happened, not yet. >> i had a conversation with my
father the other night. he said, you know, no matter what happens, even if you solve it, tom, even if you find somebody who can solve this case, it doesn't bring her back. >> they want you just to drop it? >> and that's when i looked at him and i said, but something just won't let me let go of it. the only thing i can say is, when i go to that grave site, when i see her headstone there, she wouldn't have let go of it. she wouldn't have let it just go by the wayside. ♪ whose good-byes won't ever come ♪ ♪ and in my good-bye you'll finally know ♪ >> more on the crime, the movies and the investigation, including additional film clips, details on the case and personal accounts of investigators themselves on our website at dateline.msnbc.com.